Thursday, January 08, 2009

Sweden's ARTHUR Gradually Getting Battle-Hardened

Sweden's ARTHUR Gradually Getting Battle-Hardened
(NSI News Source Info) January 8, 2009: The Swedish mobile artillery-hunting radar system, called ARTHUR, was developed in the 1990s, but was found wanting during its first combat use recently in Afghanistan. Canadian forces there reported that, of 3,200 "incoming objects" ARTHUR reported, only two turned out to be real. There were other problems as well, but the large number of false positives was particularly worrisome. These were often caused by friendly aircraft, or distant electric transmission line towers, being mistook for incoming fire. ARTHUR is an abbreviation for mobile "Artillery Hunting Radar" system developed in Sweden. The vehicle carrying the radar is a Bandvagn 206 developed and produced by Hägglunds; the radar is developed by Ericsson. Its cost is estimated at 48 million Swedish kronor per unit. This field artillery acquisition radar was developed for the primary role as the core element of a brigade or division level counter battery sensor system. It can also be used for peace support operations. In June 2006, Ericsson sold the greater part of Ericsson Microwave Systems to SAAB, which it intends to rename Saab Microwave Systems. ARTHUR is carried in a Bv206 tracked vehicle and costs $20 million per system. The radar can detect shells or rockets fired from up to 40 kilometers away. Within the few seconds, the systems computer can calculate the location of the firing artillery to within two meters. Given the availability of GPS guided shells (Excalibur) and rockets (GMLRS), you can have return (counterbattery) fire on the enemy artillery within a minute. South Korea, another buyer of ARTHUR, is particularly concerned about the massive numbers of North Korean artillery weapons aimed at their capital, Seoul. ARTHUR, if linked electronically with artillery units equipped with Excalibur or GMLRS, could shut down a lot North Korean artillery very quickly. But only if ARTHUR can deliver on its promise to track up to eight shells a simultaneously, and handle about a hundred a minute. Now there is doubt. In South Korea, ARTHUR will be replacing the American AN TPQ-36/37 FireFinder artillery and mortar finding radar, which has gotten a bad reputation of late. That was often for failing to detect incoming mortar fire. FireFinder was developed in the 1970s, based on Vietnam experience with enemy mortar and rocket attacks. FireFinder is a radar system which, when it spots an incoming shell, calculates where it came from and transmits the location to a nearby artillery unit, which then fires on where the mortar is (or was). This process takes 3-4 minutes (or less, for experienced troops.) FireFinder worked as advertised, but got little use until U.S. troops entered Iraq. Since then, the FireFinder has been very effective, and heavily used. Too heavily used. There were not a lot of spare parts stockpiled for FireFinder, but now several hundred million dollars worth have been ordered. The manufacturer has also introduced new components, that are more reliable, and easier to maintain. Meanwhile, existing FireFinders are often failing to catch incoming fire, either because of equipment failure, or because the enemy is using tactics that fool the radar. For example, in Iraq, American bases are generally on higher ground than the mortars firing at them. Putting bases on the high ground enables you to watch more of the surrounding area. But FireFinder needs a line-of-sight to get a good fix on the firing weapons position. If the mortar is too far below the radar, FireFinder cannot accurately spot where the fire is coming from. Another problem is that if the mortar is too close, FireFinder is much less likely to quickly determine where the fire is coming from. So the enemy mortar teams get as close as they can before they open up. This still makes the mortar teams vulnerable to counterattack by coalition troops, but not the immediate (in a few minutes) artillery fire that FireFinder can make happen under the right conditions. At first, the army was going to halt further upgrades on FireFinder, which, after all was developed thirty years ago, and begin developing a new system, one that can better deal with the kinds of problems encountered in Iraq. But FireFinder has been so useful, that new upgrades were pursued anyway, while work continued on a replacement system. The upgrades have also been made available to other users of FireFinder (including, just in the Middle East, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.) Meanwhile, ARTHUR has been selling to many NATO countries, as it is of more recent vintage than FireFinder, and has gotten rave reviews from existing users. But these reviews were based on peacetime tests, not actual battlefield use. The Canadian experience has had a chilling effect on ARTHUR sales. The U.S. Army has been developing a new counterbattery radar, the AN/TPQ-47 FireFinder, but this is not ready for service yet. The AN/TPQ-47 is actually a major upgrade of the older FireFinder, with the capability of tracking rockets and missiles with a range of up to 300 kilometers. But this new system is towed, not self-propelled. Each AN/TPQ-47 is expected to cost about $22 million. The combat experiences of FireFinder and ARTHUR should inspire developers of this kind of equipment to come up with more realistic testing procedures.

China Equipping Defence Forces With Modern Weapons

China Equipping Defence Forces With Modern Weapons
(NSI News Source Info) January 8, 2009: China is equipping its mechanized infantry units to a modern standard, in terms of equipment, weapons and training. Each infantry fighting vehicle carries a nine man squad, armed with six Type 95 assault rifles, one machine-gun (gunner armed a pistol crew) and one RPG gunner (also with a pistol as a secondary weapon).
The troops wear camouflage uniforms (a green pattern), helmets similar those used by American troops, and protective vests (not the ones with the bullet proof ceramic plates, but the older ones that mainly protect against shell fragments and pistol bullets.)
The dismounted squad has two walkie-talkie radios, while the vehicle has a longer range radio and intercom system. Non-mechanized infantry uses a 12 man squad organization, with an extra RPG and light machine-gun.
The mechanized infantry squad has to be smaller because you can't get twelve troops into the vehicles available to the mech infantry. For example, the Type 92 infantry vehicle was developed in the 1990s, and is similar to the U.S. Stryker or Canadian LAV. It is an 18 ton, 6x6 armored vehicle that is most frequently used to transport infantry. These vehicles carry a crew of three, plus nine infantry.
Most vehicles are the APC (Armored Personnel Carrier) model and armed only with a 12.7mm machine-gun. The older Type 86 vehicle is a 13 ton clone of the Russian BMP 1. It is armed with a 73mm cannon, or a 30mm autocannon. The three man crew includes the commander of the eight infantry carried in the back. All nine men of the infantry squad usually dismount, leaving the driver and gunner to operate the vehicle under the general supervision of the squad leader. China has some other types of armored infantry vehicles, most of them based on Russian types. But the Type 86 and Type 92 are the most commonly used. China organized its first mechanized infantry brigades in the late 1950s, and now has about 30 of them. Some are experimental.

US Army Deploys MRAP Ambulances In Combat

US Army Deploys MRAP Ambulances In Combat
(NSI News Source Info) January 9, 2009: So medics can go where the warfighters go, Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected (MRAP) ambulances are being used in Iraq and Afghanistan. MRAPs were designed to increase safety of troops operating in an environment heavy with mines, improvised explosive devices and ambushes. Their heavy armor and "v-shaped" profiles deflect blasts from below the vehicle, and MRAPs have proven to be lifesavers in Iraq, where thousands have been deployed.
In Afghanistan, the original MRAP vehicles ran into a different set of problems, as the weight of the vehicle proved too much for many poorly developed road shoulders and bridges. So a smaller, lighter MRAP was designed and is being sent to that country.
With fighting forces deploying these new vehicles, the need for an ambulance that could accompany them with similar protection was evident. Over nine months in 2007 a modified MRAP for ambulance duty was designed, developed, tested and produced.
"Unlike the M997 Humvee ambulance, these ambulances are almost rolling emergency rooms - complete with oxygen concentrators, oxygen tank and a vital-sign monitor," said Sgt. 1st Class Jennifer A. Zavala of the force modernization training branch at the AMEDD Center and School. "The old ambulance had oxygen but limited suction. [Oxygen] lines are fitted so they don't run across the vehicle or patients, tanks are mounted so they don't have to sit between the patient's legs."
"They also include combat casualty treatment bags with rapid trauma treatment supplies; en route care bag with breathing, airway, bleeding, intravenous and splinting supplies to maintain care of the patient; and a trauma panel with morebreathing, airway and splinting supplies, but also oxygen and hypothermia supplies. It has a resupply chest for long missions as well," she added.
Zavala explained that development of the MRAP ambulances has changed the usual process by taking an essentially finished vehicle designed for the infantry and modifying it for ambulance use, instead of starting from scratch.
Fielding to the combat theater began in January 2008. The two designs are the RG33L (originally called the HAGA, or Heavy Armored Ground Ambulance) and the lighter MaxxPro Plus.
The RG33L carries three litter patients, the MaxxPro Plus can fit two. The RG33L is made by BAE, while the MaxxPro Plus is made by Navistar. Both are being fielded in theater. While the heavy vehicles have proven effective in reducing blast injuries, their high center of gravity and powerful engines make them prone to rollover accidents, and to contact with electric lines strung above streets. Department of Defense safety officials prescribe enhanced training and troop awareness to reduce these hazards.
"We do not separate safety from survivability in this program. They are inextricably bonded. You cannot separate the two," said Jennifer Malone, DoD's lead safety officer for MRAPs.
Hands-on training is required before any driver gets behind the wheel of an MRAP. "These are big vehicles, and you have got to follow all the operational procedures and restrictions you are given to operate them safely," Malone said. "You have to be aware of speed restrictions, terrain restrictions [and] maneuverability restrictions. And that's what the training programs emphasize."
Troops that will use MRAPs in theater usually receive a week of training by forward support training teams when they receive the vehicle during their deployment. Zavala said the AMEDD Center and School is in the process of planning home-station training.
"We have to look at how many vehicles we will need, and can we train on simulators instead of real vehicles," she said.

Italy Orders Four Maritime Patrol ATR72s / Alenia Aeronautica Signs Contract For Four Maritime Patrol ATR72

Italy Orders Four Maritime Patrol ATR72s / Alenia Aeronautica Signs Contract For Four Maritime Patrol ATR72
(NSI News Source Info) January 9, 2009: Alenia Aeronautica, a Finmeccanica company, and the Direzione Generale Armamenti Aeronautici (General Management for Aeronautical Armaments) of the Italian Defence Ministry, have reached an agreement for the supply of four ATR72 Maritime Patrol aircraft. The medium-range, twin engine turbine airplanes will be delivered to the Italian Air Force starting from 2012, to be used for the maritime patrolling with mixed crews with the Italian Navy.
An anti-submarine warfare (ASW) variant of the -500 (itself a version of the maritime patrol variant of the ATR 42-500) is also in production and has been selected by Turkish Navy and Italian Navy for ASW and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) duties. Ten aircraft will be delivered to the Turkish Navy beginning in 2010. Italy's order of four aircraft will begin deliveries in 2012. For ASW and ASuW missions, the aircraft will be armed with a pod-mounted machine gun, light-weight torpedoes, anti-surface missiles, and depth charges. They will also be equipped with the AMASCOS (Airborne Maritime Situation and Control System) maritime surveillance system of Thales, as well as electronic warfare and reconnaissance systems, and will also be used for maritime search and rescue operations.
The aircraft is a version of the regional turboprop ATR72, developed ad-hoc by Alenia Aeronautica and offers a greater autonomy as compared to the ATR42MPs already in service with the Guardia di Finanza (Customs Police) and the Coast Guard, which have already in service 7 units for maritime patrol roles such as surveillance of national sea, maritime routes and economic exclusive zone patrol and to counter smuggling and clandestine immigration.
ItAF’s ATR72MPs will be equipped with the SELEX Galileo, a Finmeccanica company, ATOS mission system, which integrates the Seaspray, electronic-scan surveillance radar and the EOST, electro-optical multi-sensor turret, for the identification of boats and persons in any weather condition.
The aircraft will also be equipped with last-generation communication systems and, through a datalink system, will be able to transmit information in real time to the ground command and control centres and other platforms, both in flight and on sea, for the coordination and aximum effectiveness of the operations.

French Order 22 NH90 Utility Choppers / France Has Ordered 22 NH90 Helicopters For Defense Forces

French Order 22 NH90 Utility Choppers / France Has Ordered 22 NH90 Helicopters For Defense Forces
(NSI News Source Info) Paris - January 9, 2009: The Délégation Générale pour l'Armement (dga) procurement office ordered in December a batch of 22 NH90 utility helicopters, worth nearly 600 million euros ($824 million), from the NH Industries consortium, the Defense Ministry and Eurocopter said Jan. 8 in separate statements. The NHI NH90 is a medium sized, twin-engine, multi-role military, fly-by-wire helicopter manufactured by NHIndustries. The NH90, which can be flown by a single pilot, is designed to operate by night and day and in poor weather. It has been ordered by several nations and entered service from 2007. The DGA signed the contract Dec. 23, but Defense Minister Hervé Morin announced Jan. 8 the new order for the tactical transport helicopter (TTH) version of the NH90 in a meeting with the French Senate Foreign Affairs, Defense and Armed Forces Committee, the ministry statement said. The latest contract, on top of an initial buy of 12 NH90s, brings the total to 34 NH90 TTH aircraft for the French Army's aviation wing, the ministry said. In 2000, the DGA bought 27 of the more complex NFH navalized versions for the French Navy, bringing the total of NH90s bought by France to 61, Eurocopter said. The NH90 land and naval versions are at least a couple of years late because of technical problems and the difficulties of building 23 versions of the same aircraft. First delivery of the French NH90 TTH is scheduled in 2011, the company said. NH Industries is a consortium composed of Eurocopter (62.5 percent), AgustaWestland (32 percent) and Stork Fokker (5.5 percent). Orders for the NH90 total 529 units, including the latest French buy. So far, 25 NH90s have been delivered and another 50 are under construction, the company said.

Embraer Sells A Third ERJ 135 Jet To The Government Of Thailand

Embraer Sells A Third ERJ 135 Jet To The Government Of Thailand (NSI News Source Info) SAO JOSE DOS CAMPOS, Brazil - January 9, 2009: Embraer has signed a contract with the Royal Thai Army for a second ERJ 135 jet. This third airplane for the Government of Thailand will be used to carry civilian and military officials, and the delivery is scheduled for 2009. Enbraer has already delivered one ERJ 135 to the Royal Thai Army and another to the Royal Thai Navy. The aircraft shares 98% parts and systems commonality with the other members of the ERJ-135/140/145 family. At the end of 2008, Embraer delivered one ERJ 135 to the Royal Thai Army and another to the Royal Thai Navy. The ERJ 135 is a jet of exceptional quality and performance, and offers military customers a combination of modern equipment and low maintenance cost. They will be used in Thailand to transport government officials and to handle Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) missions by the Royal Thai Navy. The deal regarding the first two aircraft was announced in November 2007, and also includes a significant logistics package, reflecting the expansion of Embraer in the Defense and Government segment in the Asia Pacific region. Thailand is the first military operator in Southeast Asia to use the ERJ 135 aircraft both for transporting officials and for carrying out MEDEVAC missions. The airplane for the Royal Thai Navy is based at the U-Tapao Air Base, and the airplane for the Royal Thai Army, in Bangkok. This document may contain projections, statements and estimates regarding circumstances or events yet to take place. Those projections and estimates are based largely on current expectations, forecasts on future events and financial tendencies that affect Embraer's businesses. Those estimates are subject to risks, uncertainties and suppositions that include, among others: general economic, political and trade conditions in Brazil and in those markets where Embraer does business; expectations on industry trends; the Company's investment plans; its capacity to develop and deliver products on the dates previously agreed upon, and existing and future governmental regulations. The words "believe," "may," "is able," "will be able," "intend," "continue," "anticipate," "expect" and other similar terms are supposed to identify potentialities. Embraer does not feel compelled to publish updates nor to revise any estimates due to new information, future events or any other facts.
In view of the inherent risks and uncertainties, such estimates, events and circumstances may not take place. The actual results can therefore differ substantially from those previously published as Embraer expectations.

South Korea Orders Second Batch of Six U-214 Submarines / Six More Submarines of Class 214 for South Korea

South Korea Orders Second Batch of Six U-214 Submarines / Six More Submarines of Class 214 for South Korea
(NSI News Source Info) HAMBURG/KIEL, Germany - January 8, 2009: A contract for the delivery of six material packages to build Class 214 submarines for Korea was signed by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft GmbH (HDW), a company of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems AG, and MarineForce International LLP (MFI). The contract was made between the HDW/MFI consortium and the South Korean procurement authority DAPA (Defense Acquisition Program Administration).
This will provide Korea with a 2nd batch of boats in this successful class of submarines.
South Korea will manufacture six additional Type 214 submarines under license from Germany. The second Korean Type 214 boat is seen here at delivery last month.
After studying the tenders produced by national Korean shipyards, DAPA selected Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering to build the first boat of the 2nd batch. Submission of tenders for the second boat is due to take place in summer 2009.
All six boats will be equipped with an air independent propulsion system on the basis of fuel cells. The 2nd batch of Class 214 for the Korean Navy is a further development of the already proven overall design for the first three boats. The new submarines will be almost identical to the 1st batch boats, which were ordered in 2000 and all three of which were built/are being built by Hyundai Heavy Industries. The first two boats of this class were delivered to the Korean Navy in December 2007 and 2008.
The contract further underlines the position of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems as worldwide market leader in the field of non-nuclear submarines. It safeguards not only industrial core capabilities and jobs at the two locations of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems in Kiel and Emden but also several hundred jobs with subcontractors all over Germany for the coming years.
Main Characteristics of Class 214 submarines for the Republic of Korea Navy:
-- Length: approx. 66 m
-- Height: approx. 13 m
-- Displacement: approx. 1,800 t
-- Crew: 27
ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems AG, with its head office in Hamburg, Germany, is part of ThyssenKrupp Technologies AG within the ThyssenKrupp Group. With its technological competence, extensive portfolio and continuous innovations the corporate group, being the umbrella organisation for shipyards in Germany, Sweden and Greece and various marine engineering companies, represents one of the leading systems houses in European shipbuilding. HDW is the competence centre for the development and the building of submarines within the network. The company is world market leader in building non-nuclear submarines.

Sri Lanka Reimposes Ban On Tamil Tigers

Sri Lanka Reimposes Ban On Tamil Tigers
(NSI News Source Info) Colombo - January 8, 2009: Sri Lankan government on Wednesday decided to formally ban the LTTE, a move signalling end of prospects of peace talks with the Tamil Tigers against whom the security forces have launched a major offensive. Sri Lanka joined countries like India, the United States and the EU, who have already proscribed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) headed by V. Prabhakaran. The decision to ban the outfit with effect from Wednesday midnight was taken at an emergency Cabinet meeting chaired by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse. After the meeting, senior Cabinet minister Maithripala Sirisena told reporters that government took the decision to ban LTTE as civilians were being held in the rebel-controlled areas against their will. Meanwhile, the Lanka defence ministry said on Wednesday that Tamil Tiger rebels are "near extinction" as troops press home their initiative after capturing the rebels’ political capital. Soldiers on Wednesday kept up pressure on the bottleneck linking the main island to the Jaffna Peninsula from two fronts, military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said. Resistance was lower than on the first day of the assault a day earlier. "The number of fighters and the volume of fire is lower, in terms of artillery," he said. The Army has sandwiched the LTTE on the thin strip of land, with troops to the north and south. The Tamil Tigers have vowed to hit back after suffering a series of major defeats in their vicious 37-year battle for a separate homeland. The ministry said troops recovered three rebel bodies while "scores" were killed during heavy fighting around the Muhamalai defence line in the Jaffna peninsula on Tuesday. "Security forces... are now gaining rapid tactical advantage leaving LTTE near to extinction," the ministry said, adding that intense ground battles had left "well-fortified LTTE defences crumbling and its leadership stunned." Meanwhile, Tamil Tigers, now virtually on the run, have claimed that they still retained the capability to seize back LTTE’s de-facto capital of Killinochchi and said Sri Lankan government’s plans to hold elections in the Northern areas "would be a futile exercise". Emerging after the devastating defeat at the hands of Lankan Army, LTTE political chief B. Nadesan said that "Kilinochchi town was captured more than once by the Sri Lanka military earlier." "Similarly, we have also re-captured the town on earlier occasions, effectively bringing the town under our control to serve the administrative and infrastructure needs," Nadesan said. "It is in Kilinochchi, where the Sri Lankan forces have suffered historic debacles," he told the pro-LTTE website Tamilnet. Lanka has hit the Tamil Tigers on Wednesday with a terrorist designation it lifted as part of ill-fated 2002 truce, as soldiers pressured the separatists’ last stronghold on the Jaffna Peninsula. Though largely symbolic since the LTTE are already on US, EU and Indian terrorist lists and the government routinely calls them that, the Cabinet vote is just one more sign Sri Lanka has no plans to negotiate. "The Cabinet has decided to ban the LTTE as they are not allowing civilians to leave the war zone," defence spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella, also a minister, said. President Mahinda Rajapaksa had given the LTTE until the New Year to free civilians which rights group say the rebels are keeping as human shields and using as fighters or battlefield labourers. The LTTE denies that. On the issue of government plans to hold provincial elections in the North after liberating it from the LTTE, Nadesan said it would be a futile exercise. "It will be a futile exercise to attempt to sideline the authentic representatives of the people of a nation and to depict the puppets and paramilitary agents of an invading military as the representatives of the people," the LTTE political head said. "Tamil people have clearly defined their political aspirations by the democratic mandate in the elections of 1977," he said.

Paging Dr. Sanjay Gupta: A TV Star for Surgeon General?

Paging Dr. Sanjay Gupta: A TV Star for Surgeon General?
(NSI News Source Info) January 8, 2009: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon and chief medical correspondent for CNN, has been offered the post of Surgeon General by President-elect Barack Obama, according to sources. Gupta, 39, has reportedly accepted the job, according to the Washington Post, and is already working out the details of moving his family from Atlanta to Washington. The telegenic Gupta seems at first an unorthodox choice for Surgeon General, a position usually occupied by a government health official. The duties of the Surgeon General include educating the public on all public-health issues, ranging from HIV prevention to obesity, as well as analyzing and advising the President and the Secretary of Health and Human Services about U.S. health policy, including insurance coverage and disease-prevention efforts. But Gupta's selection may hint at the Obama Administration's seriousness about addressing the most significant health concerns facing the nation. With obesity and diabetes rates reaching record levels, especially among children, Obama's focus has been on preventive health care — staving off disease before it arises. Having anchored specials on CNN to inspire Americans to become more active and eat healthier, Gupta — though short on traditional government experience — would seem well qualified to bring this message to the public. Gupta launched CNN's New You Resolution program, urging viewers to stick to their New Year's resolutions to become fitter, and is the engine behind the Fit Nation initiative, which tours the country promoting basic principles of healthy living. Gupta also writes a health column for TIME magazine. In addition to his duties on air, Gupta holds a faculty position in neurosurgery at Emory University, where he continues to perform surgery a few times a week. Gupta's limited health-policy experience includes a stint as a White House fellow in 1997, where he worked with then First Lady Hillary Clinton on health-care reform. In 2001, months before the Sept. 11 attacks, Gupta joined CNN and has since provided on-the-spot medical analysis on news events ranging from the anthrax attacks to Vice President Cheney's heart problems and the aftermath of the tsunami in Sri Lanka in 2004. In 2003 he traveled to Iraq and Kuwait, where he joined the U.S. Navy's medical unit and performed brain surgery on several patients. As Surgeon General, Gupta would oversee the 6,000-member commissioned corps of the U.S. Public Health Service. Traditionally, the office, which was established in 1871, has served as a soapbox for promoting healthy living goals: C. Everett Koop launched an antismoking campaign in the 1980s; Joycelyn Elders, under President Clinton, pushed for stronger sex education in schools (she was later forced to resign, following the program's controversy); and Richard Carmona focused on controlling drug abuse under President George W. Bush. With Gupta, that soapbox has the potential to become a podium for convincing the American public as well as legislators that the health of the U.S. cannot be fixed until we stop focusing only on health care and get serious about health.

UAE Naval Forces Commander On 3-Day Visit To India

UAE Naval Forces Commander On 3-Day Visit To India (NSI News Source Info) January 8, 2009: Commander of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Naval forces Rear Admiral Ahmed Mohammed Al Sabab will be in India on a three-day visit beginning tomorrow. During the visit, the Rear Admiral is expected to meet his Indian counterpart Admiral Sureesh Mehta, Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor, and other senior Defence Ministry officials, to discuss the defence relations between the two countries. "The UAE Navy chief will arrive here on January 6 and will be meeting the Navy and the Army chief along with senior defence officials," Navy officials said. Later on during the visit, he is expected to visit Mumbai and meet the Western naval Commander Vice Admiral Jagjit Singh Bedi there. He will also visit the Bombay dockyards, officials said, to look at the modern facilities developed by the Indian Navy there. A graduate of the Pakistan Naval Academy, the UAE Navy chief has held various staff and command appointments, which include head of operations, administration and deputy director of joint operations directorate of the UAE Navy.

Robert Gates Estimates 2009 War Costs at $136 Billion

Robert Gates Estimates 2009 War Costs at $136 Billion
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - January 8, 2009: Defense Secretary Robert Gates says military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan would cost almost $136 billion for the 2009 budget year that began Oct. 1 if they continue at their current pace. Speaking for neither his current boss, President George W. Bush - nor his future one, President-elect Barack Obama - Gates told top lawmakers in a New Year's Eve letter that the Pentagon would need nearly $70 billion more to supplement the $66 billion approved last year. "This estimate is my personal assessment and does not reflect the position of the Bush administration or the incoming Obama administration," Gates said. The estimate would cover Pentagon operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as other elements of the global war on terror. An official request for war funding is coming after a review by the Obama administration, Gates said. In the letter, sent to the chairmen of the House and Senate panels overseeing the war, Gates said that Congress should expect that the Obama administration "will conduct a fresh review of these matters and provide an updated and more authoritative proposal early next year." Gates also said the estimate doesn't account for a proposed increase in the tempo of operations in Afghanistan. Congress provided about $188 billion for the global war on terror in the 2008, according to the Congressional Research Service, as a surge in Iraq operations helped bring greater stability to the troubled nation. Obama has promised to bring down war costs as he works to remove most U.S. combat troops. All told, CRS says, Congress has approved $864 billion for the overseas wars and other programs related to the battle against terrorism since Sept. 11, 2001. Such funding includes military operations, base security, reconstruction, foreign aid, embassy costs and veterans' health care.